Digest of Septembers Microstock News Stories:

Two big stories this month relating to the commission and sales structure under which images are sold. Veer announced they were to offer a subscription product, while subscription site shutterstock announced it would to start offering single images.


New Veer Subscriptions

Veer announced a subscription offering available from "later this year" , 30 images per day, prices to be announced but touted as being "less than $250 a month". An updated contributor rate card (pdf) details commissions from subscription downloads which like istockphoto vary with the number of images that end users download per day. If one image is downloaded then the contributor gets $3 commission, if 30 images are download each image contributor gets 1/30 (10 cents per image downloaded). A post on microstockdairies pretty much mirrored my feelings about the new rate... a little too favorable to veer. To opt out of the subscription offer you need to send an email, instructions were sent to all contributors on how to do this, deadline for opting out is 21st October. (read the note below first).


New Shutterstock Single Images

Subscription microstock pioneers shutterstock announced that due to popular demand they would be offering an option to buy single images (they previously offered an 'on demand subscription' that allowed 5 downloads for $49).

The new offer is not available in all markets. Commission rates for single images are as follows:

Contributor Lifetime Earnings Commission Rate
 < $500  20%
 $500-3,000  25%
 $3000-10,000  28%
 > $10.000  30%


Subscription Commission Comparison

(say that three times fast) A quick comparison of the commission rates at shuterstock and istockphoto should help you decide what you think about the new veer subscription offer:

Veer Shutterstock iStockphoto
rate details rate details
rate details
Your pay per download is determined by number of images download by the user in one day: (key values shown)
Downloads Earnings
1 $3.00
5 $0.60
10 $0.30
30 $0.10
Your pay per download is determined by your total lifetime earnings:
Earnings per Download Lifetime Earnings
$0.25 Less than $500
$0.33 $500 to $3,000
$0.36 $3,000 to $10,000
$0.38 Over $10,000
Royalty level based on how much of the subscriber's daily limit was used to download your file, with a minimum value of $0.65 according to rate details

Extended License $3.75 at best down to $0.13 at 30 downloads. (So that's as low as 13 cents for unlimited use) IS and SS don't offer extended licenses on their subscriptions. A shutterstock EL will earn you $28, istock ELs work on the same rates as standard image downloads costing from 75 to 125 credits. For me this was the decider on opting out; the potential low subscription payouts I might have swallowed if I could opt-out later (just to see how the sales were and report back on this blog); but  $3.75 at best for an EL, No.

Note: At time of posting it appears that veer may be putting together a different structure, a thread on microstockgroup is keeping track of things.


Other News

Cutcaster announced upgrades to their search system and the launch of an API for searching and reselling cutcaster images

Mystockphoto reported on improvements to the despositphotos site

MicrostockPosts featured an article on istocks new terms "opt in or close account ultimatum"

Picniche took a detailed look at which agencies strip your metadata and why.


Tyler Olson's picture

veer royalties

Tyler Olson (not verified) on Fri, 2011-09-30 21:02
I'm guessing you may have already seen it, but if not, Veer just updated their subscription pricing. Now it is looking quite good imho http://www.microstockgroup.com/veer-marketplace/veer-subscription-royalt...
Steve Gibson's picture

Good things happen in bed

Steve Gibson on Fri, 2011-09-30 21:58

Indeed, I got up this mornign to find an email in my inbox from veer

"We’ve asked for your feedback and have been listening carefully over the last few days

as we went back to the drawing board to revise our royalty model. Two key issues were
raised by contributors:

1. Basic plan royalty per download range of $0.10 to $3 is generally good but a minimum
    of $0.25 per download is preferred.
2. Extended license plan royalty per download of $0.13 to $3.75 is far below expectations;
    there are other subscription sites averaging $28 per extended license download. This
    was a deal breaker for many contributors.

So here’s what we’re going to do.

Firstly, we’re raising raising the rates of our basic subscription to have a minimum royalty
of $0.25 per download. We’re also raising the maximum royalty from $3 to $4.95. The
range is now $0.25 to $4.95 per download, per image-buying customer.

Secondly, we’re changing the subscription extended license plan. Instead of a daily
download model for subscription extended licenses, Veer will enable subscription
customers to easily purchase extended licenses on a per-image basis, as we do now on
veer.com. If a customer purchases an unlimited reproduction license for your
subscription image, you’ll earn $35 for the extended license, in addition to your
subscription royalty per download of between $0.25 and $4.95."

Steve Gibson's picture


Steve Gibson on Wed, 2012-06-06 01:38

Interesting follow up to this post on microstockdiaries:


Reading it makes me wonder why on earth I only compared shutterstock and istock and ignored fotolia from the table!


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